Governing a poor country like Rwanda is the most difficult job – says Kagame
Kigali – President Kagame says his job is the most difficult compared to any other presidency because he has to keep begging and pleading with foreign donors who do not want to even listen to him – at some point directly attacking Belgium.
“Being a leader is difficult, being President is difficult as well, but being President of Rwanda is exceptional,” said Kagame after swearing-in his cabinet, adding: “Because Rwanda is poor”.
Kagame said he finds himself “everyday” explaining to donors who accuse his government of stifling political rights. Imitating how he conducts himself with politeness, the President said “I have to keeping answering ‘YES SIR, YES MADAM’…,” as the whole audience erupted in loud applause.
“Even those from countries that have failed to form governments for a long time come here demanding good governance,” said Kagame in seeming reference to Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, Charles Michel, who was in the country last week and made strong comments about the political situation in the country.
“Imagine being taught good governance by a person who has failed to form a government in his own country,” said Kagame amid more applause, adding that he finds more trouble explaining to his donors because they do not want to listen to his side of the story.
“Because I keep explaining to people who do not understand and do not even want to listen, is the reason I say governing Rwanda is too difficult.”
He added: “After this one leaves in the morning, another arrives later saying ‘I heard you have this Genocide law…we do not trust you. You want to use it to squeeze people politically’…”
He repeated his signature complaint in most speeches that foreign critics exert double standards on how democracy is practiced. They have power sharing in their countries but when “PSD and PL” choose to form a coalition, that is wrong, said Kagame.
He said the west has become the “judge” for Africa on everything. “Isn’t it a funny world we live in?,” said Kagame, adding that he has “failed” to live in the two existing worlds including that of “righteous people who have commands and lessons for everybody”, and another world of “people who are perpetually students who never graduate”.
The President moved his attacks onto his critics not mentioning any names but it was supposedly the exiled Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa and the other three former top officials who published a 60-page dossier in which they claimed President Kagame had amassed excessive wealth.
Calling the dossier “nonsense”, President Kagame said these officials consider themselves Rwandans by names but do not know what that entails.
In the document which has circulated widely online, the four ex-top officials name individuals they consider as great leaders such as former Tanzanian leader Mwalimu Julius Nyerere whom they say left office without anything to his name.
“…that where a car is needed, you could walk on foot – as if that is how leaders or Rwandans have to live. That is not the case,” said Kagame, adding with emphasis amid applause, “Being rich is not a crime, it is an obligation instead”.
“The problem is enriching yourself with what you have stolen … getting rich with what you have worked for is what we wish…”
The President caused lengthy laugher in the parliamentary buildings when he brought the story of a “pussy cat and rat” (Injangwe n’imbeba) – famously said to have been used by ex-PM Faustin Twagiramungu to refer to how politicians in Rwanda behaved. Twagiramungu is said to have meant that politicians in Rwanda are scared about each other. President says he neither “Injangwe” nor “Imbeba” as he will tell off any foreigners who attack him.
In response to this, President Kagame said his primary responsibility is to “create value and wealth for the people of this country”.
President Kagame spent most of his 47 minute speech rallying his new cabinet to work hard to change the lives of “those who spoke recently” – in apparent reference to his reelection on August 09 with a 93.08 percent. He said being minister is not just sitting and counting the number of vehicles the ministry has, but to deliver sustainable development.
On the controversial UN report alleging that Rwanda troops massacred “Hutu” refugees in DR Congo over a 10 year period, President Kagame made it the last item he addressed but stopped abruptly when it had sounded like he was going to continue.
“…that Rwandans committed Genocide?,” he wondered as he leaned on his podium.
“There are things people must understand. Our rights cannot and should not be subordinated to other peoples’ rights…NO…we cannot accept that.”
“Rwanda in the news all the time”
The President moved to western media complaining that has failed to understand why Rwanda keeps attracting negative publicity “all the time”. He said Rwanda attracts what he described as “unnecessary attention”.
“Even stories must be created so that Rwanda keeps in the news. The other day Rwandans spoke…now the issue became that too many had spoken…and that is an issue we must explain,” said Kagame, calling the challenges awaiting government as “complex context”.
“…that there is no political space … what do you mean? The political space is well and fully occupied by the people of this country. And if the people of this country has spoken in such numbers and freely, who are you to question anything they have said? Where do you come from? from mars?” He added: “You must respect these Rwandans.”
Among the 25 cabinet ministers, some were not available to take their Oath including Finance minister John Rwangombwa, presumably in Washington for the IMF-World Bank meeting, Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama and ICT minister Dr. Igance Gatare.
Environment and Forestry Minister Christophe Bazivamo was the first to take the Oath and Energy State Minister Eng. Coletha Ruhamya was last.
The Minister in the President’s office Nyirahabimana Solina had to repeat the Oath after she missed some words. Internal Security Minister Sheihk Musa Fazil Harelimana – along with flamboyant Sports and Culture minister, Joseph ‘Joe’ Habineza attracted the loudest applause before and after they too their Oaths.